Technical Difficulties . . . stand by

I am having some issues with the blog post pictures.  Plus, wi-fi connections are extremely limited.  It is not available at the bunk house.  Only place is a local coffee house or the public library.

Briefly, all is well here.  The park is beautiful and the town is incredibly quaint.  Made it to church this morning at St. Peters By the Sea.  The homily included a reading of the lyrics to How Great Thou Art and a piano rendition by the vicar that was moving.  Even she barely made it through without crying.

I have so many pictures and stories to share.  Along with funny stories too.  My days off are Thursday and Friday so doubtful you will hear from me until the weekend.  Just know all is well and I am currently overwhelmed by the goodness of it all.

Love to all!

And the journey begins today . . .

June 24, 2015

The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m. this morning.  I left for the airport at 4:00 and was on board at 6:00 a.m.   I’m on my way!

06242015_Mara leaving copyMy nerves have finally kicked in and I must admit I slept little last evening. However, I am up and ready to go this morning even if I do have lots of butterflies roaming around in my belly. I am on my way!

Flights took me to Dallas and Seattle before arriving in Juneau at 8:30 pm my time (4:30 here in Juneau).  While waiting on my hotel transportation I met a nice gentleman from Minnesota who was heading to Skagway.  He asked me to join him for dinner and I thought about it but in the end there were a few mishaps at the hotel and it took a while to get settled.  Decided not to go and received a text from him that said, “Just so you know – even though I am leaving town in a little bit, I thought you were really hot, and I would have loved having you as a dinner date.”  Somehow 66 years old and “hot” just don’t compute for me.  Ha!!

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!  I leave for the downtown pier at 6:30 a.m. and take the 5-hour glacier cruise.  I saw the glacier from the air and it looks massive.  I can only imagine the pictures I will have tomorrow.

Have a great evening all!

It’s almost time to leave . . . Gus goes to his favorite home away from home!

June 23, 2015

Gus and Mara_06232015Today I took Gus to his favorite place, First Friend K9 for a short 3 day stay until Melissa can pick him up. As most of you know, I love  this guy and it is always hard to say goodbye to him.

He is the essence of unconditional love as he never fails to stand beside me; listen attentively to my every word; trust me; never judge; keep my deepest secrets, and snuggle for as long as I want.

My granddaughter, Michaela, will care for him while I’m gone (with the help of her mom, Melissa). She will make sure he has food before he realizes it’s time for dinner, play with him each day, and make certain he gets all the snuggles he needs. What a blessing to have such a good girl to care for him. He sure loves her and her brothers as well as her mom and step-dad Robert.

On a side note for any of my friends who live near Fishers, I want to let you know how wonderful everyone is at First Friend K9. They take great care of Gus when he is there and every single one of their employees takes his care personally. I am blessed to have found them for training and extended care. Thanks to Bruce, Debbie, Paula, Melissa, Kyle, Rafael, Hailee, Ashley, Kelsi . . . too many to name!

Thanks First Friend K9 for always being there for us!


Recommended Readings

I love to read and am always looking for a good story.  I plan to add my recent readings to this page as time progresses.  I hope some of these will be ones you’ll enjoy as well.  Send me your suggestions for books and movies as well.  No TV here so we are renting movies from the library.

Happy Watching & Reading!

Currently Reading:  Sitka Song: A Novel of Contemporary Alaska by John Welsh and

Upcoming Book:  Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman and Nancy Freedman



Just watched To Kill a Mockingbird in preparation for the sequel, Go Set a Watchman.  I’ve pre-ordered it from Kindle.

Been watching old movies while in Sitka.  Melissa brought me a series of “chick flicks” that were fun to watch in the evenings.  Now that I am back in the lower 48 and have access to internet, I got started on The Blacklist and just finished Series 1 and am halfway through Series 2.

Also trying to get into The Goldbergs. The kids here in Texas love it.

Recently Finished:





The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz.  This is a follow up to the Lisbeth Salander series (The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo).  After Stieg Larsson died, Lagercrantz was asked to complete book four in the series.  It took me forever to get into this series and the violence is graphic.  However, it kept me on the edge of my seat and I ended up wanting to continue reading.  Will see how this book fits in with the others.

Rose Harbor Series by Debbie Macomber includes The Inn at Rose Harbor, Rose Harbor in Bloom, Love Letters, and Silver Linings.   These are great romance novels.  I do  enjoy Debbie Macomber and her stories.  They are light and heart-felt stories of people who struggle through life just as you or I might do.  She always has a main character who we come to know quite well.  And then she adds others we come to know just briefly.  It is like reading short biographies of people you’ve probably met along your life path as well.  DISCLAIMER:  This is a series.  When you finish book #4 (Silver Linings), the story does not end!  There will be a book #5 coming in about 9 months.  Argh!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.   Finally finished this one.  It was long and laborious.  Fabulous detail with rich character.  For me, it took a bit too long to get to the story and the ending left me wanting more.  But the descriptive writing was fabulous.

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles. This is #5 of the Penn Cage series and I’m about a third through. Not as good at Nachez Burning but I’ll hold my final review until the end.  My initial assessment turned out to be correct.  It was nowhere near as good as Natchez Burning.  It really dragged on and belabored a story line that could have ended pages ago.  The ending was as I would have liked.  Doubt I will follow Penn Cage into his next adventure (which you know is coming based on the end of the book.) 

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles. This is book #4 of the Penn Cage series. The series has been page turners. However, I needed a dictionary to look up some of his vocabulary. Wish I had started a list of these words as I was reading. I thought I had a decent vocabulary but there were a BUNCH of new words for me in this. If you read this be sure to keep a list!

Two Old Women by Velma Wallis.  This book is an Alaska legend of betrayal, courage and survival.  Absolutely a wonderful tale.  A lady from The Pioneer Senior Home suggested it to me when I stopped by last week.  I’m so glad I read it and am sending off to my grandson, Thomas, as I think he will really enjoy reading this before he comes to Alaska in a few weeks.

Living the Adventure . . . is this retirement ? ?

cropped-Blog-White-text-1.pngHi!  Welcome to my blog.  My story is very simple.  I grew up in a small town in Indiana.  During the 50’s and 60’s, living in the country meant you played outside most of the time, used your imagination to create things to do, played with anyone who wanted to play (gender and age were unrestricted), and made certain you were always home by dinner time.

If you were lucky, your father turned your back yard into an oval race track that would accommodate every trike and bike in a 2 mile radius.  We had races of all types and lots of crashes.  Young and old were welcome, gender made no difference, and no one escaped the standard issue scrapes and bruises.  We frowned on “cry-babies” but watched out for each other as well.  There was always an older one to take a younger one under their wing.   Those who had dogs brought them along as well and anytime we could incorporate them into the mix we did.  We loved our pets too!

What a wonderful way to grow up.  We were responsible (chores had to be finished before play); adventurous (always up for a challenge); imaginative (games had to be created); and, entertaining (practice makes perfect).  There were no cell phones to call us for dinner and yet we were always on time (late for dinner meant someone was in trouble, or about to be)! Needless to say I grew up strong.

I graduated from high school in the late 60’s which was a time of great unrest.  Vietnam was in full swing, racial unrest was abundant, and Bob Dylan sang, “The times they were a changin’.”

By 1971, I was a Mom with 2 daughters and just 3 years later I was a single parent with new adventures on the horizon.  We had challenging and rewarding years ahead and we grew up together in so many ways.  I wouldn’t trade those years for anything and thank God every day for walking with us during these years.  By the mid 1990’s these two girls had achieved more than I could dream.  They were beautiful, bright, and fearless as they entered the work force to become brilliant contributors in their fields as well as the best Mom’s in the world to my grandchildren.

The next phase of my life took me back to college to complete a degree I had started in the 1970’s.  In 2000 I became a college graduate.  Proud doesn’t begin to describe the feelings that came with that walk across the stage just a few weeks before turning 50 years old.  My new career in banking took off and the next 15 years were spent in the financial industry.

Retirement brings new opportunities and a chance to explore a whole new series of life experiences.  The dreams from years past are becoming a reality as I seek out new adventures.  I can’t wait to tell my beautiful grandchildren about these travels.  Their worlds have included such different experiences from mine at their ages and yet now I believe we will connect again over these travels.  It is my greatest hope to inspire their love of fearless adventures.

With a bucket list of ideas and a host of adventures I’ve not yet dreamed of, I’m off to Sitka, Alaska for what I hope to be the first of many new adventures.




Alaska Here I Come!

June 8, 2015

Sitka – Oh the things that I will see here!


I officially retired October of 2014.  We celebrated daughter Melissa’s wedding on January 1 and I immediately left for Texas shortly thereafter to spend several months with daughter Jennifer and family.

March brought me back to Indiana and the next few months “gathering myself” as we call it in the midwest.  What that means is we think about all the items on our “to-do” list and see what might be doable and when.  It was definitely time to stop “dreaming” and start “doing”  those long-longed-for items on my bucket list.

The most doable of the bucket list items included visits to the two remaining states in the US which I’ve not experienced (Oregon and Alaska); Antartica; Nova Scotia; the train across Canada, and  an extended stay in New York.

The most economical way for extended stays in these areas would be to find volunteer opportunities in exchange for room and/or board.  I found two great web sites (which you should definitely visit):  (1) and (2)

Anartica was going to be difficult as the volunteer opportunities were extremely limited (there is a British post office on Gosser Island but application are submitted a year in advance and they only select 4 persons a year!)

The cross Canadian train would be a challenge as well as it is hard to volunteer if the whole trip is sight-seeing.  Wonder if these use volunteer service staff on the train?????

New York and Nova Scotia posed challenges but opportunities do exist.  Housing though could be a financial challenge.

Oregon and Alaska held the most opportunities and it wasn’t long before I spotted an opportunity with the Sitka National Park and Alaska Geographic Society.  In exchange for a 30 hr. work week in their bookstore / gift shop at the National Park in Sitka, they provided housing AND a bicycle for transportation on the island.  I quickly applied on March 26 and received final confirmation of the position on April 9.  The job runs from June 27th to September 30 – –  3 months in Alaska!

Preparation for the Alaskan stay has been in full swing.  I understand the temperatures run from a low of mid-40’s to a high of mid-60’s.  I’m told rain comes most days and I was encouraged to make certain to bring 2 rain jackets, rain pants, and good quality rain boots. Training upon arrival will include what to do when you see a bear, and more importantly, what NOT to do when you come face-to-face with a bear.

I leave in just 16 days and I feel like a child awaiting Christmas morn.  I plan to spend a few days in Juneau sightseeing before arriving in Sitka on the 27th.  Whale watching, touring glaciers from both the air and the sea should make for some spectacular pictures which I will definitely share.  And, given my natural clumsy self, I expect a few wonderful stories of things gone awry.  Possibly a good bear story or two.

Can’t wait to learn about the Alaskan culture over the coming months.  More to follow soon!